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Airport Police move swiftly to suppress evidence. Is there a "torture jet" behind that warplane?

category clare | anti-war / imperialism | feature author Monday March 07, 2005 22:11author by Tim Hourigan Report this post to the editors

Ed Horgan arrested for taking a photograph.

Hercules warplane at Shannon. Spot the crime in this photo?
Answers to our SpotTheCrime competition should 
be sent to::
email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie
Phone: 01-6194020 / 4021 / 4043
Fax:    01-6764048
Valid entries should contain only one X marking
 the criminal action.  Employees and relatives of
 employees of An Dáil are precluded from entry. 
Expletives will render the entry null and void.
 Participants may enter any number of times.  

From the newswire (Tim Hourigan):

Just got a phone call from Ed Horgan. He was gathering more evidence of the crimes at Shannon when he was set upon by the Airport Police. Ed was told that Airport "Police Inspector" John Martin, Garda Morrissey and Garda Coleman were taking him into custody for taking a photograph of a US militatry Hercules. UPDATE: It also appears that Ed saw a plane very similar to the CIA torture jet that has been using Ireland as an essential part of its war crime infrastructure.

The arresting officers cited Section 33 of the Air Transport and Navigation Act, which only restricts photographs in certain areas (such as the airfield) not on the public roads.

Under Section 59 of the same act it says "lest there be any doubt, the road, is, for the purpose of any enactment, a public place."

UPDATE Wed 9th March: Ed Horgan visits Shannon again. Photos of warplanes.

On Friday 4th March Edward Horgan went to Shannon by prior arrangement to collect Eoin Dubsky's personal items (held at Shannon Garda Station since Eoin did some redecorating on a US Hercules warplane). While awaiting a phone call from Garda Sgt John O'Sullivan, he went to the airport to buy a newspaper and check if any US military, chartered US troop-carriers or illegal prisoner transport aircraft were at the airport.

As he approached the airport he noticed what appeared to be Gulfstream executive jet, similar to the N379P used for the transporting of prisoners for torture, landing on the main runway. He also noticed a Hercules C 130 parked close to Gate 40. He was waved through the road checkpoint on the approach road to the airport.

He then went up to the public viewing gallery and noticed that the GulfstreamExecutive jet was not anywhere to be seen (it may have been taken immediately into one of the hangers). He also, along with others in the viewing tower, observed the other aircraft at the airport. He noticed a US Air Force C-130 Hercules with the markings ANG Minesota, 61004.

He then went to the area of the car parks outside the main terminal building, and was observing the US Hercules C 130 when he was approached by a Garda Morrison, who was later joined by Garda Coleman, and by Airport Police Inspector John Martin.

He was followed into the terminal building and was detained by the Airport police. His camera and binoculars were taken from him at this point. He was asked to go to Inspector Martin’s office, and when he protested, he was informed that he would be taken there forcibly if necessary. He was then taken under detention or arrest, to Inspector Martin’s office where he was formally arrested under the Air Transport Navigation Act.

He was then taken under arrest to Shannon Garda Station. His mobile phone was removed from him by Garda Coleman while he was in the Garda car under arrest.

At Shannon Garda station he made contact with his Solicitor Patrick Daly, who spoke to the arresting officer and to the Sergeant in charge. He was released from custody at about 12.40, and told that his camera and binoculars were being sent to the Garda Technical Bureau in Dublin, for examination. He was also told that a file would be prepared and a decision made on whether to charge him or not, based on that file.

author by karen fallonpublication date Sat Mar 05, 2005 12:48Report this post to the editors

don't fear ed, we are with you as are many worldwide. this seems to be petty harrasment . i think they just like you so much that they have to arrest you for something just to spend time with you! it will probably br thrown out of court rapid style as it is just PLANE crazy.

author by Clarepublication date Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:26Report this post to the editors

Both Ed and Tim will be on television today - interviewed in relation to military use of Shannon. I think particularly they will be trying to raise the issue of the US torture planes landing in Shannon.

Monday - RTE one at 2.25 - programme called the Big Bite.

Well it is being recorded this morning and they think it will go out today.

author by clarepublication date Mon Mar 07, 2005 15:31Report this post to the editors

correction: This item is going out at 2.25pm on RTE 1 on Tuesday and repeated at 8 on Wednesday morning.

author by Eoin Dubskypublication date Mon Mar 07, 2005 16:20Report this post to the editors

Sorry to hear you got arrested today Ed. So... this'll sound selfish but... did you pick up my stuff in the end? I wish I had a camera and binoculars in the station and you could use them. No doubt when your stuff finally does come back it will have been tampered with (like Eoin Rice's dictaphone).

This sounds like an escalation of harrasment at the airport though to me. For quite a while they were unlikely to arrest you at Shannon unless you had actually gone over airside or were on your way there.

Anyone got the time to check what's in that aircraft hanger? Where are the Pitstop Ploughshares these days? ;-)

author by A10publication date Mon Mar 07, 2005 22:58Report this post to the editors

In the above pic.A pic of a herky with what looks like a Humvee coming down or up it's rear ramp?Which would suggest it was taken NOWHERE near Shannon?
Maybe the airport rent a cops are just fed up of the plane spotters being a PITA,and have decided to move them on for loitering with intent?

author by Errrrpublication date Mon Mar 07, 2005 23:38Report this post to the editors

e.g. "For Illustrative Purposes". Ask the New York Times if you don't understand.

author by Edward Horgan - Citizen of Irelandpublication date Tue Mar 08, 2005 00:20Report this post to the editors

Eoin Dubsky, you will be glad to hear that I have indeed rescued your rucksack from the Garda Station at Shannon after over 2 years in custody, even if at the expense of my own liberty!
There are serous matters of Irish civil liberties issues at stake here, and of course even more serious matters of the civil liberties of the kidnapped and tortured prisoners, and the innocents killed in Iraq.
I will keep you all posted on developments in this case.
Edward Horgan

author by A Broadpublication date Tue Mar 08, 2005 00:25Report this post to the editors

This competition is a fake isn't it? It's a trick question, obviously the photograph IS the crime, right?

Anyway, is this open to Irish residents only or can foreigners enter?

author by R. Isiblepublication date Tue Mar 08, 2005 04:07Report this post to the editors

I'm not sure where it was taken, but it's not claimed that it was taken at Shannon. It's included so that people can see what a C-130 looks like. It's getting hard to get hold of photographs of these things at Shannon: you get arrested and they take your camera when you do that. "Plane, what plane? Oh sorry the film got erased somehow during the two years that we held your belongings while justice was being implemented. It's a long process you know."

author by karl roenfanz ( rosey )publication date Tue Mar 08, 2005 04:56author email k_rosey48 at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

i was born in the united states but unsure of what country i'm in now. the gov yells about others violation of human rights, but won't follow the constitution,cuts funding for education but pays churches to teach religion, creates wars but won't fund veterans health care, where am i? deport me to the united states of america - please!

author by Spotterpublication date Tue Mar 08, 2005 18:48Report this post to the editors

looks like some of the one landing at abbeyshrule recently

author by mr jinkspublication date Tue Mar 08, 2005 20:25Report this post to the editors

was watching that tv thing with tim hourgan and ed horgan earlier.. its completely laughable. they were both blown out of the water by a journalist and a fianna fail member... all gusto and rage they couldnt even speak rationally.. no wonder this anti war crap is slipping quietly away......

as for the planes in question,, i have been on both n313p( b737) and n379p(g5) and they dont have the inside stripped away and shackles etc etc in them,, they are regular corporate luxary jets, lots of leather seats an tv screens so if ever kidnap and transport terrorists' they will be doing so in 5* luxury!!

get some solid evidence and try and get some literate spokes people rather then a couple of bufoons to represent ye on national television!!!!

author by jack whitepublication date Tue Mar 08, 2005 21:21Report this post to the editors

"they are regular corporate luxary jets, lots of leather seats an tv screens" mind if i ask you for more details on that? were you doing a bit of luxury flying yourself, were you there in some capacity as an airport employee, spook etc or are you just talkng shite?

author by mr jinkspublication date Tue Mar 08, 2005 22:17Report this post to the editors

as i said i have been invited onto these aircraft ... so its up to anti war jack asses and idiots like you to stop talking shlte and come up with substantial proof for all your wild claims,, and not just on terrrorist transportation

author by jack whitepublication date Tue Mar 08, 2005 22:23Report this post to the editors

"as i said i have been invited onto these aircraft"

But jinks you never said you were invited onto the aircraft, you said "I have been on" both aircraft, I was just asking in what capacity.
You know, if you have some kind of proof that these are just 'normal' luxury planes then you could totally discredit Ed Horgan and Tim. If you could even come up with a believable story you might do them some damage. as it is you just come accross as some kind of pro-war looper fantasist.

so what were you doing on those planes again?

author by mr jinkspublication date Tue Mar 08, 2005 22:28Report this post to the editors

no need to discredit them,, they are doing a great job themselves.. might check this site again in a few weeks ..

author by jack whitepublication date Tue Mar 08, 2005 22:35Report this post to the editors

you're starting to sound like a man with something to hide. The only posts to indymedia under your name are all fairly basic insults against anti-war activists. Today was the first time you actually said anything about being in Shannon though (unless you've been on both planes somewhere else?). If you work in the airport it'd make sense that you might be annoyed at giving that away.
Mind you I'm still leaning towards the idea that you've never been in either plane and are just talking rubbish.

author by GreenPartyMike - green Party USApublication date Wed Mar 09, 2005 08:00Report this post to the editors

Greetings Folks and Thank You Ed,

The Hurcules you mentioned hit a spot for me. You see, I live in Minnesota, USA and the number ANG Minnesota 610046 obviously stands for Minnesota Air National Guard. Here in Minnesota we have a large Air National Guard base in Bloomington, just outside Minneapolis. We also, just last week lost another person from Minnesota to this brutal, immoral and racist war.

I will try to do some more research on this plane and try to get this story mentioned on the local progressive and pirate radio stations. I will also do a quick story on the local Twin Cities Indy media site.

As for the local (or not) pro-war idiot here, ignore him. Fucking idiot.

author by The Devil and George Warmonger Bush - Black House Bullies For Torture and Human Rights Abusespublication date Wed Mar 09, 2005 09:53author address 666 Inquisition Dr., Auto De Fe Texas, Black Op Box Salvador Option & Bushauthor phone 666-Old-Nick Ext. BushReport this post to the editors

So why are you suprised? The Military Torture Industry has been using Torture for Decades. What do you think they have always taught at The School of The Amerikas? Knitting? No Goverment likes it's Dirty Laundry in Public View. You heard Uncle Bush's Post 9-11 Speeches claiming Torture was acceptable in Cases of Terror. What do you think the implications of it are? A Draconian Regime with No Law Higher Than Itself that's what. A Draconian Regime bent on WW III.

author by Tim Houriganpublication date Wed Mar 09, 2005 21:45Report this post to the editors

Ed and I went to SNN Garda station on Sunday, after a quick half hour planespotting at the airport (during which time we saw tow landings of military charters and one take off ) (2 WORLD Airways aircraft, and an ATA)

I popped into the station to drop in a copy of last week's Channel 4 documentary on the extra-ordinary renditions. It was quite good and even had an interveiw with Paul Forrell, the Airport Police Inspector at Bromma Airport in Sweden. He speaks fluent english, so I decided it would be helpful for the Gardai at Shannon to hear his account of the incident involving the Guantanamo Bay Express. Perhaps it might inspire them to end the silence on this plane.

While at the station, Ed was asking for the return of his equipment. The Garda at the desk said he'd have to speak to Sgt McMahon, who was Sgt-in-charge for that shift, but he didn't know where he was. I suggested to him that Sgt McMahon might be sitting in a Garda transit van at Gate 42 at the airport, (next to an ATA 767) but the Garda claimed he had no idea where the Sgt was, other than being certain that he was not in the station.

While he was answering a call, I noticed a log book on the desk in the middle of the room which had large letters on it.

I asked the Garda about this log book, but he said that it was "Garda business" and he could not talk about it. This is interesting, as they usually plead complete ignorance of any of these flights when asked.

author by Edward Horganpublication date Wed Mar 09, 2005 22:22Report this post to the editors

What was on board this aircraft, that required a large security presence of Gardai (Irish Police) and airport security? Why were the US soldiers on board, and on the ground around the aircraft not arrested and interned as Ireland is obliged to do under the Hague Convention on Neutrality?

Hercules at Shannon recently
Hercules at Shannon recently

author by mr jinkspublication date Thu Mar 10, 2005 13:53Report this post to the editors

i dont see any heavy security around that c130?

author by Questionerpublication date Thu Mar 10, 2005 14:21Report this post to the editors

I have read through the posts and I am a bit puzzled. Why are you surprised by the way you are being treated.

For example, one of you asked a Garda about private Garda information and they refused to give it to you? I certainly hope so. I would be concerned if people could wander into Garda stations and obtain confidential information just by asking the Desk Sergent. The Gardai are doing their job by not giving you confidential information.

You call it harrassment when you are arrested for going where you call "airside"? Do you mean by airside, when you enter into the Shannon Airport private property? I certainly hope you get arrested. I would be concerned about airport security if you are able to freely break into airport property without getting arrested. That's not harrassment. That's the Gardai stopping people breaking the law.

You aren't allowed to take photos of US airplanes? I certainly hope you are not allowed to take photos. That sort of information should be restricted. You should not make public information about US troop movements as it can be used by terrorists. Information about US planes passing through Shannon is available from Dail questions. It is summary information, which seems appropriate.

I believe you are using a common tactic of the anti war movement. You break the law in order to provoke a response from the Gardai, and then you complain about the Garda response. Your hope is that people only see the Garda reaction, rather then your intial action.

It does not seem to be an honest tactic to use, and if people do not think you are honest they will not respect you.

author by R. Isiblepublication date Thu Mar 10, 2005 17:40Report this post to the editors

Nowhere in Tim's reports or Ed Horgan's reports (see the link above in the article at UPDATES) do they talk about "going airside".

For someone such as yourself that professes to be very keen on legality and a strict adherence to the law you might want to consider that a WAR CRIME is being facilitated at Shannon. There is also the problem that we are officially a NEUTRAL country and as such prohibited from allowing the passage of troops and munitions.

The gathering of evidence about the extent of this heinous complicity in the invasion of Iraq and the slaughter of her inhabitants is necessary in order to establish a basis for future trials against the politicians and flunkeys involved.

Your scaremongering about the possibility of terrorists getting hold of information about US troop movements is weak: it's already well known that US troops are passing through Shannon. Automatically Ireland and Irish people at home and abroad are recognised to be collaborating with the USA's armed aggression. At one stage being Irish was somewhat of a passport to decent treatment in other parts of the world. Unfortunately that won't be the case after we've frittered it away in order to do our sad little bit to help murder children in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There won't be much point in Bertie Ahern running around bestowing or emphasising the Irish citizenship of unfortunates like Ken Begley.

Your own complacence about the crimes taking place at Shannon are not shared by many people and as more people become aware of it I'm sure you'll find yourself in more of a minority:
"Meanwhile, US troops are passing through Shannon in large numbers daily. A French TV crew arrived on Wednesday 9th and got some good footage of US troops within the terminal building at Shannon. They are over to do a programme on Irish neutrality, and have been simply gob-smacked at what is going on at Shannon."

Let's have some law and order around here: war crime trials for the war criminals.

author by Questionerpublication date Fri Mar 11, 2005 12:41Report this post to the editors

There is mention of going "airside" in Eoin Dubsky's comments above, so it was mentioned. There is also a parallel discussion going on entitled "Torture, bombs and killers pass through Shannon", where there is a lot of talk about going "airside". By this is meant of course, the criminal act of breaking and entering. Those taking part in going "airside" should expect to be arrested, and should not complain when they are. It is highly dangerous to break and enter into an airport, and you put your own life and other lives at risk. It's a really stupid thing to do.

As for the people taking photos. You imply this information would never be used by terrorists, and yet in a few parallel stories on this site, eg; Pit Stop Ploughshares Trial Day 4, Pitstop Ploughshares Put The War On Trial, we actually have a case where people have broken and entered and caused criminal damage to a US plane. It goes without say that it is highly dangerous to cause damage to an aeroplane and you are putting your own life and other lives at risk. So yes the gathering of intelligence about US planes has been and potentially will be used for illegal and dangerous activities. For that reason the Gardai are correct to stop the gathering of intelligence.

My main point though which I think is being missed is that it is hypocritical to deliberately break the law, and then complain when the Gardai stop you. It is the people taking the photos that are doing the harrassment, and who are behaving in the threatening manner.

Finally I am not aware of any crimes being committed by the US troops in the Shannon. If you are aware of any you should report them to the Gardai.

author by keith harris - newsmedfianewspublication date Fri Mar 11, 2005 15:01author email newsmedia at eircom dot netReport this post to the editors

thanks for posting this story

author by R. Isiblepublication date Fri Mar 11, 2005 16:17Report this post to the editors

And your response makes it clear that all of your argument and questioning has little to do with the subject which is that Ed Horgan was arrested for taking photographs in a place where he is legally allowed to take photographs.

He was not "going airside" despite whatever your or Eoin Dubsky may have to say on the matter: he was standing in a public place where the taking of photographs is legal.

Finally you argue that photographs (which we the citizens of Ireland are allowed legally to take) would be used by terrorists and have been ( and here you label the Pitstop Ploughshares as terrorists):

> As for the people taking photos. You imply
> this information would never be used by terrorists,
> and yet in a few parallel stories on this site, eg;
> Pit Stop Ploughshares Trial Day 4, Pitstop
> Ploughshares Put The War On Trial, we actually
> have a case where people have broken and
> entered and caused criminal damage to a US plane.

I'll just clarify a couple of things for you so that you don't remain in a confused, questioning state of mind:

1. The Pitstop Ploughshares did not use photographs to disable the warplane. They walked in and used a couple of small hammers. (see the trial coverage on this very site for details).

2. The Pitstop Ploughshares are not terrorists. They are pacifists who damaged an inanimate object that was being used to help murder innocent people in Iraq.

3. Your comparison of the damaging of a murder vehicle like a warplane with the actions of terrorists is a disturbing indication of moral bankruptcy: how dare you compare the actions of the US airforce, or the Spc. Charles Grainer or Al Qaeda with the pacific damaging of one of their vehicles.

> My main point though which I think is being missed
> is that it is hypocritical to deliberately break the law,
> and then complain when the Gardai stop you. It is
> the people taking the photos that are doing the
> harrassment, and who are behaving in the
> threatening manner.

Again you are confused: it is NOT illegal to take a photograph in the manner that Ed Horgan did. You are obviously thinking of the rules of a different country.

> Finally I am not aware of any crimes being
> committed by the US troops in the Shannon.
> If you are aware of any you should report them
> to the Gardai.

The actual presence of US troops is a crime. It _has_ been reported to the Gardai. However the people facilitating the crime in this case _are_ the Gardai.

You will continue to be "unaware" of crimes as long as the legally obtained photographs and evidence gathered at Shannon is illegally removed in the manner detailed in this story.

author by A10publication date Sat Mar 12, 2005 22:04Report this post to the editors

posted by Ed as to why this plane needed a garda and militaty presence to gaurd it?

PIT STOP PLOWSHARES and other "non violent" peace groups perhaps?

author by Edward Horganpublication date Sun Mar 13, 2005 01:10Report this post to the editors

Just to make it clear, I was not "airside" at any time on the day I was arrested. When I was first approached by the Gardai (police) I was in an area to which the public have free access, as it is both a staff car park, and park of coaches, where airtravellers get on and off the coaches. I was detained by airport security within the terminal building as I was attempting to buy an newspaper in the airport shop. I was arrested by Gardai also within the terminal building. There were no signs anywhere prohibiting the taking of photos. There were no photos in my camera when it was examined by Gardai.

I am opposed to unlawful killings of all types, whether committed by Irish people in places such as Omagh, or by religious fundamentalist in New York, on 9/11, or those who claim to be guided by God, when sending US troops to kill innocent people in Iraq and elsewhere. I am equally opposed to tyrants such as Saddam Hussein, and tyrants who are allies of the US, such as the regimes in Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. I have always taken great care to uphold the law, including the laws of Ireland, and international laws, and will continue to do so, and I will continue to oppose all those who are knowingly breaking those laws at Shannon airport.

The US troops passing through Shannon are breaking international law by passing through a neutral country, and the Irish government is breaking the law (Hague Convention) by allowing this and failing to arrest and intern these troops. Ireland does not have to declare itself neutral, but, having done so, and it continues to do so, it is strictly bound by the laws of neutrality.

The argument that the US troops are not committing crimes at Shannon only applies to the US troops, some of whom are committing very serious crimes in Iraq. The crimes being committed by the Irish Government and its agents at Shannon is that they are knowingly assisting the committing of crimes by US troops in Iraq. This the same culpability as providing the getaway car at a bank robbery, or knowingly providing the car that transported the car bombs and bombers from the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland for the Omagh bombing. The Irish Government and its agents, including the Gardai and Airport Police at Shannon are knowingly complicit in the ongoing unlawful killing of innocent people in Iraq. Any attempt to expose such criminal behaviour, or to prevent it, is not only lawful, it is a civic duty of all Irish citizens.

Speaking the truth or exposing crime by photographing it, cannot be a crime, it is a most serious duty.

author by Questionerpublication date Mon Mar 14, 2005 17:47Report this post to the editors


So many things to comment on, I don't want to do a huge reply so just restricting myself to a few themes.

Some parts of this discussion have boiled down to points of law. This is unfortunate for me as I am not a trained lawyer. I am however able to do Google searchs, and I notice a few discrepancies:

It is claimed that section 33 "only restricts photographs in certain areas (such as the airfield) not on the public roads."

I have just read Section 33 of the Air Transport and Navigation Act, and it does not appear to mention photography at all. Here is the link:

What did you mean to say? Is there some other part that mentions photography?

Also it is claimed under "Under Section 59 of the same act it says "lest there be any doubt, the road, is, for the purpose of any enactment, a public place."

This is not what Section 59 states. Section 59 is:
"59.—For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that—

(a) the word "road" includes, for the purposes of the provisions of the Road Traffic Acts, 1961 to 1995, or any regulations made thereunder, a road in a State airport, and

(b) a State airport is, for the purposes of any enactment, a public place.
That's different. The road falls under the rules of the road. It is not exempt from normal airport rules. Here is the link: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/ZZA24Y1998S59.html

In the latest comment it is claimed:

"The US troops passing through Shannon are breaking international law by passing through a neutral country, and the Irish government is breaking the law (Hague Convention) by allowing this and failing to arrest and intern these troops. "

I looked up the Hague Convention on the Web, there is a lot of it there. I'm not going to read it all to see if what you say is correct. Sounds doubtful though. Surely our Government would object if that was happening. To which part of the Hague Convention do you refer please so that I can check it up.

Also a bit more details as to what law is being broken. Troops have been legally passing through Shannon for decades.

Finally you say:

"The crimes being committed by the Irish Government and its agents at Shannon is that they are knowingly assisting the committing of crimes by US troops in Iraq"

If you know of any crimes that are being committed by the US troops in Iraq, please report the crimes to the Iraqi Goverment, so they can investigate.

author by Edward Horgan - Peace and Neutrality Alliancepublication date Tue Mar 15, 2005 14:03Report this post to the editors

Thank you for your perceptive questions on matters of law. I am not a legal expert either, but the law is there for all our benefit and our protection, and is not just a matter for legal people, so we should search out what the laws may be being abused when we have suspicions of such abuse.
I know of the Hague Conventions because I took a High Court Case against the Irish Government in March 2003 over US military use of Shannon airport.


The key issues and findings of this high court case are that Judge Kearns found in favour of the state on my challenge under articles 28 and 29 of the Irish Constitution. However, he found that Ireland was in clear breach of international law by allowing US troops to use Irish territory for its war against Iraq. The following is the text of his judgement:
“The court is prepared to hold therefore that there is an identifiable rule of customary law in relation to the status of neutrality whereunder a neutral state may not permit the movement of large numbers of troops or munitions of one belligerent State through its territory en route to a theatre of war with another.”

It is important to point that Ireland or the Irish Government does not have to declare itself neutral, and can legally under international law take part in wars, provided those wars are not contrary to international law, and are conducted in accordance with international law. The war in Iraq was both clearly contrary to international laws, and conducted in many instances in serious contravention of many international laws and conventions. However, having declared neutrality repeatedly since 1939, and repeatedly even since 20 March 2003, Ireland is obliged to obey international law of neutrality.
It is important also to emphasise that, from my point of view, such legal matters are only important in so far as they protect innocent people from being unlawfully killed.
The following are some extracts from the transcripts on the Horgan v Ireland which explain the issues of neutrality briefly.
Customary international law dictates the obligations of a neutral State which were summarised in the 1907 Hague Convention V (Respecting the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land) in the following terms:
"Article 1: the territory of neutral powers is inviolable
Article 2: belligerents are forbidden to move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral power Article 5: a neutral power must not allow any of the acts referred to in Articles 2 to 4 to occur on its territory.., it is not called upon to punish acts Zn violation of its neutrality unless the said acts have been committed on its own territory."
While it is accepted that neither Ireland, Iraq or the United Kingdom have ratified the Convention and are thus under no obligation to apply its provisions as a matter of treaty law, nevertheless, the plaintiff submits, 1907 Hague V is regarded as
declaratory of customary international law (Schwarzenberger's International Law (1968) 549, 550, 552 and 567).
By the same token, it is submitted that Article 18 of the San Remo Manual (which was based on Article 42 of the 1923 Hague Convention Draft Rules of Aerial Warfare) is also declaratory of customary international law. It provides as follows
"Belligerent military and auxiliary aircraft may not enter neutral air space. Should they do so, the neutral state shall use the means at its disposal to require the aircraft to land within its territory and shall intern the aircraft and its crew for the duration of the armed conflict. Should the aircraft fail to follow the instructions to land, it may be attacked, subject to the special rules relating to medical aircraft as specified in paragraphs 181 to 183."
· The rules or indicia for neutrality were authoratively stated, he submitted, by Schwarzenberger's International Law (1968) at p. 549 in the following terms:
"For purposes of presenting the law as applied on the international judicial level, it is convenient to break up into five rules the basic rules of the international customary law of neutrality:
(1). A neutral state must abstain from taking sides in the war and assisting either belligerent and, in matters of discretion, deal impartially with all belligerents.
(2) A neutral state must prevent its territory from being used as a base of hostile operations by any belligerent
(3) A state not participating in a war is entitled to respect by the belligerents of its rights as a neutral Power. It must, however, acquiesce in restrictions which, under the laws of war and neutrality, belligerents are entitled to impose on the relations between their enemies and neutral nationals.
(4) A neutral state, as distinct from a neutralised state, may change its status to one of belligerence; otherwise, the state of neutrality is co-extensive with that of war.
(5) Any violation of legal duties owed by belligerents and neutral states to one another is a breach of international law and entails the consequences of an international tort."
All this may sound like just legal jargon. However, ten years after the end of the wars in the former Yugoslavia, the political leaders of Serbia, Kosovo, and and generals from Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia are now before the War Crimes tribunal in the Hague. Also the comment above on international tort, is important. The Irish taxpayer has a liability for its share of the physical damage in Iraq, as well as its share of the liability costs for the killing of 100,000 people. This will be very many multiples of the costs incurred by the overcharging scandals in our Health Services. I have estimated that Ireland owes the people of Iraq as much as 100 Billion Euro in damages and reparations because of its facilitation of the war against Iraq. See my article in the Irish Times. http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/letters/2005/0104/index.html;
This legal principle that “Any violation of legal duties owed by belligerents and neutral states to one another is a breach of international law and entails the consequences of an international tort” has another very important legal meaning also. The people of Iraq, acting on their own behalf, or, through their government, whenever again they get a legitimate government, are entitled to take any justifiable measures, including military attack, against Ireland, and against Shannon airport in particular, in order to prevent Ireland from assisting in the unlawful attacks against Iraq. This has been just one of the hidden risks imposed on the Irish people by our government’s decision to invite the US to use Irish territory, airspace and Shannon airport in its war against Iraq.
With regard to reporting crimes to the Government of Iraq, there has been no lawful government in Iraq at least since March 2003, and the prospects of one in the near future are not certain. Our duties and our responsibilities as Irish citizens are primarily concerned with the Irish Government and crimes committed by the Irish Government. It is a crime, in Ireland under Irish law to knowingly or recklessly assist with the commission of a crime anywhere, either in Ireland or outside the jurisdiction of Ireland. An example is that those people in the Republic of Ireland who planned, provided the cars for the bombs, and help to transport the bombs to Northern Ireland for the Omagh bombing, are guilty of crimes under Irish law. Our guilt for the crimes in Iraq is of a similar nature.
With regard to your point that “Troops have been legally passing through Shannon for decades” this is popular misconception. US and other military personnel, unarmed, and not engaged in any way in military operations, or combat duties, are allowed pass through neutral countries in time of peace, under the Hague convention and other international laws. At no time in the past, prior to the Kosovo War in 1999, have armed foreign troops in large numbers been allowed through Irish territory. Statements by Irish Government ministers that Shannon was used by the US for the purposes of the Vietnam war, are both false and ludicrous. It is almost twice the distance to go from the US to Vietnam through Ireland, as distinct from across the Pacific. The Russian use of Shannon during the Cuban missile crisis is also quoted. There is no evidence that Russia used Shannon for any military purposes at any time, and Russia was never at war over Cuba. Neutrality only applies to time of war.

With regard to the legality of taking photos and being arrested at Shannon, such issues are certainly much less important than the issues of live and death discussed above, and I will be taking these matters up separately with the State and airport authorities. However, we must never loose sight of the fact that we, the Irish people, have assisted knowingly in the unlawful killing of over 100,000 people. There will be a price to be paid for such criminality.

Related Link: http://www.gluaiseacht.net/projects/legal/courtreports/...main/
author by mark - dgn wsm (personal capacity)publication date Tue Mar 15, 2005 20:03Report this post to the editors

questioner above

"......we actually have a case where people have broken and entered and caused criminal damage to a US plane"

actually the case collasped and was declared a mistrial so it aint criminal damage dude!!!!

author by Questionerpublication date Wed Mar 16, 2005 17:12Report this post to the editors

Hi Ed,

Thanks for getting back to me, much appreciated.

I could swing two ways on this. One half of me says, fair enough, you have proven Ireland is not neutral. In my mind that is a good thing as our neutrality is a matter of national shame.

Some day we will realise that we should not have been neutral in, for example, WWII. We should have been pro allies and anti Nazi. In the Iraq Liberation, maybe you have guessed, I believe we should stand with the new democratically elected Iraqi Government and their allies, and against the Baathist/Al Qaeda led insurgency.

However your comments about the Saddam Hussein dictatorship being the last legitimate government really wound me up. In what world view are dictatorships legitimate. Not mine anyway. So I do want to query your comments.

You quote:

>> he found that Ireland was in clear breach of international law

I read the judgement, most of it anyway, and I don't think it is as simple as that.

The judgement make clear that there is a difference between international law and domestic law. We are bound by our constitution to follow domestic law, however international law is a different matter. He never actually says words on the line of "Ireland in in clear breach" of customary "International Law".

The judge acknowledges that such a law exists, and then discusses whether Ireland should be bound by such a law. His conclusion is that Ireland is not bound by such a law. He discusses that if Ireland wishes to be bound by such a law they can enact them as domestic laws, ratify all the various conventions, and make appropriate constitutional changes.

I think a more accurate statement of what is going on here is that:

Ireland is not a neutral country as defined by the Hague Convention. If it wished to be a neutral country it could ratify the Hague Convention, change its constitution, bring in laws that conform with the Hague convention, and if, and only if all that happened, and if there was a law that said the Gardai should arrest troops passing through the country, then, if all that were true, and the Gardai did not arrest the troops then the Gardai would be breaking the law.

I have a comment from an article on PANA, Peace and Neutrality Alliance to back this up:

"Ireland is therefore not a neutral country under international law at present and its credibility as a neutral country in the event of future wars can only be restored by including a clear neutrality clause in the Irish Constitution."

I hope you agree with this comment, as the author of the article was yourself.

The other point I take issue with is this one:
>> I have estimated that Ireland owes the people of Iraq as much as 100 Billion Euro

There are two outcomes in Iraq. Iraqi democracy manages to survive and over time, grows and flourishes. In that scenario they will obviously not sue the people who liberated them. The other outcome is the Baathist/Al Quaeda led insurgency defeats the Iraqis, and the US Army, and prevails in Iraq. In that scenario to be honest I think the last thing that anyone will need to worry about is a court case for damages.

I think at this point that we are probably to much in disagreement to progress much further, but if you want to keep up the discussion fair play to you.

Finally, on a separate comment, someone says:

>> actually the case collasped and was declared a mistrial so it aint criminal damage dude!!!!

Hmm. Hadn't realised that. That makes it political damage I suppose, in opposition to democracy in Iraq. What is it about the Iraqi people that you all hate so much?

author by jeffpublication date Wed Mar 16, 2005 18:11Report this post to the editors

...100,000 civilains have been killed in this war. These Iraqis hated Sadddam, but I'd imagine they hate their liberators just the same.

Depleted uranium shells cause cancer.

Many innocents have been killed by US Troops at roadblocks. Others have been killed at marches.

It is not so simple, there are a lot of angry Iraqis, and more importantly, dead ones.

Add to this equation the following; the war was pre emptive, it was started on the basis of Iraq being a possible threat, there were no WMDs. This war has set a dangerous precedent, one where a stronger country can take out another country on the spurious basis of 'alleged threats'. In other words, a strong nation is now able to start a war, not in defence, but for the simple reason that it does not like a certain country.

This final point illustrates how the collective morality of he West has now been usurped.

We need basic laws or rules of engagement to provide international stability. This war broke those rules.

The century we enter may be a safe one, or it could be a very dark one indeed. Pre emptive attacks are vague and dangerous in the long term.

author by Edward Horganpublication date Sun Mar 20, 2005 00:05Report this post to the editors

Further update on 19th March 2005.
Hercules from Wyoming National Guard at Shannon and refueling ship.

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=69038
author by Michaelpublication date Tue Mar 22, 2005 10:27Report this post to the editors

Nobody can sign or ratify the Hague Conventions on Neutrality cause they're no longer at work -- Google WWI and Hague Conventions.

The point in Ed's case was about *customary* international law. The Hague Conventions of 1907 were just an expression of that.

Judge Macken has will return with a verdict for Eoin Dubsky's judicial review (on Afghanistan war participation) any day now, and she is expected to clarify the matter further.

Judge Kearns, it was argued in Dubsky's case, was coy about deciding whether Ireland should be bound by the definition of neutrality from customary international law because Dail Eireann had already passed a resolution on the matter.

Regarding Afghanistan however there has been no Dail resolution, and therefore the court can take a look at the question more fully.

The issue is not whether or not Ireland should behave similarly to Switzerland or Austria in this war. The issue is simply this: At what point do we say Ireland is participating in an armed conflict -- a war?

author by mary - nonepublication date Wed Nov 23, 2005 21:58author email marytkeown at hotmail dot comauthor address finner, bundoran, co donegalauthor phone 0876135370Report this post to the editors

do you think it may be possible for someone to send me a copy of a photogragh taken at shannon airport of the suspect planes etc. I would like to make paintings of them. I am an artist and have an idea for a piece!!

author by mary theresa keown - lkvpublication date Sat Nov 26, 2005 21:32author email marytkeown at hotmail dot comauthor address finner bundoran co donegalauthor phone 00353876135370Report this post to the editors

i was contacted on my mobile about images i was interested in. right now i´m in Norway and cannot use my phone to contact the relevant person.
I´m still interested, perhaps you could email me. thankyou.

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